– Edward Sa’id, The Essential Terrorist (via arielnietzsche)
The worst aspect of the terrorism scam, intellectually speaking, is that there seems to be so little resistance to its massively inflated claims, undocumented allegations and ridiculous tautologies. Even if we allow that the press, almost to a man or woman, is so traduced by moronic notions of newsworthiness, spectacle and power that it cannot distinguish between isolated and politically worthless acts of desperation and orchestrated attempts at genocide, it is still difficult to explain how or why it is that those who should know better either say nothing or leap on the bandwagon. Only a handful of people, like Noam Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn, seem willing to ask publicly why facts are never discussed or how it has become customary to judge evidence entirely on the basis of what race, party or creed delivers it up. If you say that the United States supplied Israel with the cluster bombs used to kill Palestinian children in Beirut, you, and by extension your statement, are dismissed, not because the statement is untruthful but because you are “a Palestinian (or Arab or Moslem) spokesman,’ as if that fact doomed you irremediably to spreading terrorist lies. But no one says to Claire Sterling and Jillian Becker that their unverifiable claims about “international terrorist conventions’ and various “terrorist agreements,” for which no proof or contents are ever given, are unacceptable as evidence. And other Orientalists do not challenge Lewis and Kedourie for the bilge they regularly spill out on Arab or Islamic culture, which would be considered the rankest racism or incompetence in any other field.
Past and future bombing raids aside, the terrorism craze is dangerous because it consolidates the immense, unrestrained pseudopatriotic narcissism we are nourishing. Is there no limit to the folly that convinces large numbers of Americans that it is now unsafe to travel, and at the same time blinds them to all the pain and violence that so many people in Africa, Asia and Latin America must endure simply because we have decided that local oppressors, whom we call freedom fighters, can go on with their killing in the name of anticommunism and antiterrorism? Is there no way to participate in politics beyond the repetition of prefabricated slogans? What happened to the precision, discrimination and critical humanism that we celebrate as the hallmarks of liberal education and the Western heritage?
Do not try to answer those questions straight out. Instead, get hold of any treatise, article, television transcript, editorial, public proclamation or book on terrorism (virtually any one will do; they’re interchangeable) and ask the author questions you would ask someone who argued that the universe was being run from an office inside the Great Pyramid. The world’s, and our, problems will not disappear at all: they’ll become fully apparent, as now, under the sign of terrorism, they are not. The main task for American intellectuals is not to attack Libya or denounce Soviet communism, but to figure out how this country’s staggering power can be harnessed for communal coexistence with other societies, rather than for violence against them. Certainly such a task cannot be helped by trading in metaphysical abstractions while we charge about the world as if we were the only people who counted. Nor will it be helped by declaring ourselves to be in a perpetual state of siege, partners in this protracted insanity with the Middle East’s diehard rejectionists.